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Rethinking Crime Urges Govt to Observe Prisoners' Rights

Rethinking Crime Urges Government to Observe Prisoners' Rights

Rethinking Crime and Punishment Director, Kim Workman, has urged the government to observe the Bill of Rights.

“The last three years saw the basic human rights of prisoner’s being violated through the three strikes legislation, and the removal of prisoners voting rights.

Yesterday, the Attorney General found that the Prisoners' and Victims' Claims (Redirecting Prisoner Compensation) Amendment Bill is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act and with our obligations under international law.

The bill amends the Prisoners' and Victims' Claims Act to remove any possibility of abused prisoners receiving financial compensation, regardless of the severity of the abuse.

“The Attorney General has made it clear that prisoners are human beings, and have the same basic rights as every citizen. The denial of an effective remedy to a particular group of society excludes that group from the protection of the Bill of Rights. Section 23(5) of the Bill of Rights Act provides that everyone deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the person. Denying prisoners the effective protection of the rights affirmed in s 23, specially enacted for their protection, is unjustifiable.”

Let’s remember the words of that great statesman Nelson Mandela , who observed that, “No one truly knows a nation until he has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens but how it treats its lowest one.”

Kim Workman
Director

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